The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans
Stuc aâ€™ Chroin Hill Race 2016
Finlay Wild - Winner
Report & Results: Page 7/8 Alasdair Anthony - Runner up
Photographs by David Johnson
Editor’s Bit As we are preparing this edition the holiday weekend is very close and I am sure the skies are being watched with particular concern in Strathyre and Balquhidder... can Tom Lewis possibly have four sunny festivals in a row? Hopefully we will have lots of photos and stories next month for us all to share. Looking ahead, the Highland Games in July are needing more helpers to ensure that this fine tradition can continue - so please read Angus’s plea and get involved if you can. An interesting article, as always, from St Angus about an experience in Africa. As it happens we have just returned from Botswana and Zambia where a visit to one of the villages had made us think - but in a different way. It did seem quite incredible that we were shown the huts still literally being built of wood and mud in the 21st century; also striking was the church building being the only one made of brick and with a ‘proper’ roof. We met several groups of Germans and Americans on our travels and inevitably discussions round the camp fires centred on the politics of the EU, and the US Presidency race. Fortunately, the Americans seemed to share the general bemusement as to how a certain candidate seemed to be capable of gathering so many votes! The voting will soon be over although the recriminations will probably then start for whichever side loses. Enjoy the beautiful bluebells. JJ
A Bit of a ‘Wacky’ Do! Saturday 21st May saw the launch of a new book, Wacky: The Diary of a Ship’s Cat - a delightful ‘paw-written’ account of a cat’s adventures aboard a yacht sailing from the Greek islands to the Scottish Hebrides. Book lovers - and cat lovers too - joined Lochearnhead’s Ursula Haselden, who ‘helped’ write the book, at Mhor 84 for an evening of readings, signings, fabulous live Beatles’ music and fish’n’chips - with a very nautical theme. The book tells the true story of a hugely characterful cat with hidden talents, who carves out a very determined life for himself with ‘Zanthoula’ and ‘The Captain’ after being discovered fighting for his life in the sea as a half-drowned stray kitten: “No one could then know that I was both classically educated and of high intelligence...” Wacky is published by Seashell. You can find it on Amazon. A wacking good read!
Author Ursula (aka ‘Zanthoula’) left, with illustrator Gill
The St Fillans Bit Following April’s successful Great Loch Earn Boat Race, I was pleased to hear that Richard Graham, captain of St Fillans’ The Village People rowing team, paid a visit to Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance to present them with a cheque for sponsorship donations that had generously been given to the team. Richard told me, “on 12th May I was delighted to deliver the veteran’s boat race sponsorship cheque of £1,200 to Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance at their base in Scone. Over the last few years it has become more apparent how much remote communities, such as ours, depend upon the SCAA for our emergency response, for both residents and villagers alike.” I couldn’t agree more and, as Richard pointed out, he saw the SCAA in action around the loch on five separate occasions last year alone. This culminated with the service they paid to the late John Murray. Richard and the team wish to thank all of their sponsors for their generosity, in particular, the residents of St Fillans who donated ninety percent of the total amount raised. Well done again to everyone who took part and raised and donated funds for their chosen charities. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the SCAA for all the hard work that they do in helping save lives and managing to achieve this entirely on donations alone. It is very encouraging to learn that the recent ground works to construct the second phase of the new Loch Earn Railway Path have now been completed, with just the finishing touches to do these being ‘to dress the tarmac edges of the path with soil and seed’, I’m told by Johnston Brown, who has been instrumental in running and obtaining funds for the project. By the time this is published, representatives of the bodies who have provided funding for the path will have made a site visit to inspect the completed section. They are also going to get on their bikes and cycle the path. Plans for the official opening of the route are yet to be decided; Sir Chris Hoy, keep your diary free! (Or failing him, Windy Miller, tricycle legend) - I wish. I recently walked the completed section (from Station Road to the bridge near Tynreoch) and must say I was highly impressed by the design and construction. Clearly, a lot of thought and planning has gone into the layout of the path which starts as a series of what my husband describes as ‘Scalextric track’-like bends which incline up behind the old station
by Isobel Howell
Richard, presenting the cheque to the SCAA on behalf of the veteran’s rowing team. Photo courtesy of Richard Graham
platform and caravan site and then the path flattens out behind Littleport Farm before dropping down past Clachnaba – the views from which are stunning and offer a completely different perspective of the village. Being tarmac, the path will provide a more pleasant walking experience in the wet months and as we noticed, every man and his beast has been thought of, with the addition of a gate for vehicular access, one also for pedestrians and a cattle grid. There are sheep in the surrounding fields and along the path itself, so if you do go there, make sure dogs are on leads. What was a complete surprise and a delight to see was the ‘Serpent Rock’ sitting proudly along the side of the path. Continued overleaf
The Serpent Rock (photo by Isobel Howell)
The St Fillans Bit
Continued from page 3
This got me thinking how wonderful it would be if we could get a series of art installations commissioned for the route - a carved tree, a sculpture, a bronze animal or perhaps a fairy statue. With St Fillans already on the BLiSS arts trail, this wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility, surely. If anybody is interested, I would love to hear from you and together perhaps we can commission several pieces of art. The path is an incredible achievement and I couldn’t think of a better way to show it off. It is definitely something that we, as a community, should be proud of. And now for something completely different. Around this time of year, did you know that female bats are giving birth to pups? Neither did I, nor did I know that baby bats are called pups. They’ve frightened the life out of me on two occasions when we’ve had them in the house, so I’m hoping that with Andrea Hudspeth’s help, she can put me at ease around these little fledermausen. Andrea (our local ecologist) would like to organise a bat training evening (forgive me as images of Del Boy and Rodney are springing to mind) for anyone interested in learning more about bats and finding out how we can help them. For details, contact Andrea via firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m sure it will be interesting finding out which types of bats we have living around us and where they are roosting. (No capes
required). The photo (above) is of a wee baby bat that Andrea had the pleasure of looking after a couple of years ago. Meanwhile, looking ahead to the summer; fun, food, frolics and folk music will be in abundance in the village with the return of the annual Festive Weekend. Keep a date in your diaries for Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th August. Dave and Don’s Diner will be providing food on the Saturday and there’ll be games for all the family to take part in. As for the Saturday evening, it’s top secret so far but all will be revealed next month. On the Sunday there will be a buffet lunch (kindly provided by Liz from Tullybannocher) which you can enjoy whilst listening to and watching live Scottish folk band, Tarneybackle, who perform a wide range of traditional and contemporary folk music. Being held on the playing field behind the Loch
Earn Arran Brewery Hotel, it should provide the perfect backdrop for some traditional, atmospheric Scottish music – let’s just hope we get some untraditional, sunny San Fillan weather for it. Finally, I’ve had a message from Mary at The Four Seasons to remind us of their K9 Fun Run on Saturday 4th June. This is a 5K run from the hotel along the railway track and back to raise money for Dogs Trust - see the hotel’s Facebook page for further details. Mary also reminds us that it’s Father’s Day on Sunday 19th June and if you have Sunday lunch at the hotel then, there’s a free pint for all dads. Finally, as an incentive for the person who draws the short straw and is the “designated driver”, whenever you are a group of four or more and have dinner in either of their restaurants, the hotel will offer free soft drinks to the driver.
Colin Hugh Gompertz 1939 - 2016
Colin was one of the founder members of the Friends of Balquhidder Church in fact it was his idea. When the church was thinking of ideas to raise funds he thought of his father Claude who used to volunteer at Norwich Cathedral in Norfolk; they had a ‘Friends’ society - and so Colin thought it was a possible idea for Balquhidder Church. That was in 1989 - and the ‘Friends’ is still going strong with a membership of nearly 100 from all over the world. Colin was born in Norfolk on the 2nd January 1939. After National Service in the RAF, he joined the National Provincial Bank and was transferred to Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex. At that time the banks would exchange ‘local’ cheques and it was how he met his wife Daphne who worked for Barclays Bank. Later the National Provincial Bank became the more familiar National Westminster. After several changes of branches and counties, he decided to follow his dream and run a hotel - so he and Daphne bought Stronvar House in Balquhidder and ran it firstly as a hotel, then as ‘Bygones Musuem’ and eventually as self catering holiday accomodation, until ill health and retirement meant selling Stronvar and moving to Callander. They had been living there for two years when sadly he passed away on the 16 April 2016 . He leaves behind his wife, and two sons and a daughter.
Strathyre Waste Ground Project
Ever wondered who organises the Stuc a’ Chroin and Ben Shean Hill Races? Well, the answer is the dedicated team you see pictured here, and I’m very proud to be part of it! The ‘Stuc’ is one of the biggest and best organised hill races on the circuit - and it’s down to the members of this team, who unselfishly give up their time to ensure that the race keeps the status which it has achieved over the years. As a team. we have all bonded well, and each member has a particular talent, making the race the success that it is. The same applies to the Ben Shean Hill Race, which receievs the same attention and detail as the Stuc. As soon as each race is over, it’s a case of arranging a ‘mop up’ meeting and starting all over again for the next year. We’ve already had our Stuc meeting! We are looking to win the British Championship next year - which will mean even more hard work and serious organising - but this is a team that will be up for it. However, no matter how much we do, we could not survive without the local help we get in the way of sponsors, ground staff etc - and the renowned marshals that we are very lucky to have. So if anyone would like to help in ANY way with either of the races, please contact a committee member. Pictured from left to right are: Graeme, Steve, Catriona, Jim, Davy, Dougie, Wullie and Ian. Wullie D
For many years now I have, in my capacity as Chairman of Old Station Court Tenants and Residents Association, tried to establish ownership of the small strip of ground that runs parallel with the foot path at the back of our houses - with NO success. It would appear that when you mention the dreaded word “maintenance” no one wants to know. It would seem that this piece of ground comes under the legal heading of ‘No Registered Ownership’. So with that in mind, I called a meeting of the Association to get the feelings of the residents about adopting the land on a maintenance only basis and not ownership at this time, and was delighted when all present agreed that we should tackle this ongoing problem ourselves. So we have decided to clear the ground and start a planting programme where we will under plant with spring bulbs and finish with a grassed area, which we will then maintain throughout the year. This lead me to the next stage where we received a biodiversity grant when the Court was being renovated and after following the necessary procedures I am delighted to say we have been awarded a grant of £250 through Action Earth Awards which will help finance some of the project - but not all of it. We will do the rest ourselves. As you can see by the photo we have made a start by clearing the ground and levelling it as much as possible. Our thanks to Stevie Black for all the digger work he put in, to get us under way. There is still a lot of work ahead, but we have three months to complete it and we should meet the deadline. Notices will be put in place advising cyclists and pedestrians about the work in progress - which may be a wee bit disruptive, but we will try and keep it to a minimum. We would ask all dog owners to please keep dogs on a lead when in this area - and not to allow any fouling on the ground being developed, during and after completion, as this will now be an extension to Old Station Court gardens We hope this meets with the agreement of Strathyre Residents and ask for your patience during this project. We hope that next spring, visitors and locals alike will have a beautiful area added to the Village. I will keep readers updated as we go along and if anyone has any questions about this project and the grant funding please feel free to contact me at any time. Wullie D
Real Ale - Real Music
Stuc A’ Chroin Hill Race 2016: The Results High winds and blizzard conditions were atrocious when Davey & Graeme ventured up on the hill on the Thursday before the race to mark the course. Eventually, they’d deteriorated so badly that they could no longer make out the paths and the danger then was that they would mark the course away from the normal route and too close to dangerous terrain and they took a decision to abandon the marking at that point. Although they were able to mark a good portion of the course, that still left an awful lot to do either on the Friday or before the race started on the Saturday. Friday also had bad conditions and there was a fear that it would be dangerous for the runners and marshals to be able to run and support the race in its usual format. After consulting with the Fell Runners Association, the possibility emerged of running an abbreviated race if we were unable to gain access to Stuc Summit or it was deemed too dangerous for the runners. Reports came in from Mike Holliday that despite the snowfall on the Thursday, he was hopeful a lot of the snow would dissipate by the time the runners got there on the Saturday. Saturday came and conditions had indeed eased; the marshals had been able to get to the top to finish the marking. Although there would be snow underfoot, winds would be light and there was some sun forecast. The race started on time but it was apparent early on that there was a problem with the radios and communications with those on the hill were poor. Interference caused by other groups using the same frequency was blamed, but thankfully there were enough marshals with a mobile phone signal to be able to relay information back to Race HQ. Understandably, conditions underfoot, (sometimes well underfoot) led to a slower finish, but it was still a massive effort for Finlay Wild (Lochaber) to finish in Catriona in charge of the whisky stand
2:25:24; Alisdair Anthony (Ochil) 2:31:21 and Andrew Gilmour (Carnethy) 2:34:45 came 2nd and 3rd respectively. For the females, Charlotte Watson (Edin Uni H & H) came in 1st on 3:00:14, just pipping Jill Stephen (Hunters Bog Trotters 3:00:32 and Anwen Darlington (Dundee Road Runners) 3:04:06 came 3rd. Great going again this year for all those 169 runners who set off. It’s also worth noting that Greg Boswell, whose leg was amost separated from the rest of his body by a grizzly bear in December, had a small camera crew filming him on the road back to fitness. Greg came in a respectable 3:18 (he’d probably have done it a lot faster if the bear had still been chasing him). Stephen Rawlinson won the local prize in 3:06. Other locals who ran were Adrian Walters (4:09), James Ashworth (3:39), and Dan Watson (3:18). Many comments from the runners highlighted what a great run it was as they congratulated us on a very well organized race. They were particularly grateful for the free massage given by Jim & Janette at the Therapy Rooms. I watched as many of the runners, some in visible pain and obvious discomfort, hobbled towards the tent in search of relief. It’s appropriate here to thank the many people who contributed this year and every year - Glen Ample Estate for letting us run on their land, Mike Holliday and Eoin Campbell for getting a lot of water around the mountain, arranging access, ferrying people around and generally watching over us, Forestry Commission for letting us run on their land, Inn at Strathyre for their great contribution on all the events leading up throughout the year, hosting the marshal meetings and providing soup and sustenance for the runners and marshals and revellers. Thanks also to all our sponsors - Thomas Allan & Son (Plumbers), Kingshouse
Travel, Sula Furnishings, The Inn & Bistro Strathyre. Stirling Stoves, Immervoulin Caravan Park, Strathyre Cleansing, Village Shop Strathyre, Airlie House B&B, M&M Timber, ping-pm, Aitchison Enterprises, The Braes Farming Co., KPs DIY, Lochside Cottages, Ian Brydie Building Services, Heroncraft Scotland, RTA Doune, S Carmichael & Sons (Comrie), Roll On Flooring, Crystal Tea room (Crieff), The Villagers and The Therapy Room without whose support we could not do what we do. For photos, Jason Allardyce, Archie Scott, Tommy Anderson, David Johnston and other contributors; thanks also to Pete Bland Sports for their support over the years and help recently despite their devastation in the floods in Cumbria last year. Of course, we are eternally grateful to the infamous marshals and supporters who dish out water, jelly babies, encouragement and humour to the runners, and those at registration, race finish, soup dispensers and massagers at the race finish. Finally, thanks to all the runners for turning up, of all ages and degrees of fitness, without whom there would not be a race to run. All in all, good weather coupled with an excellent night in the Inn made this a great day, especially considering the expectations of a couple of days before. See the results on the next page. 7
BROADBAND UPDATE Stuc a’ Chroin Hill Race 2016: The Results MALE 1 - Finlay Wild - Lochaber AC 02:25:24 2 - Alasdair Anthony - Ochil Hill Runners 02:31:21 3 - Andrew Gilmour - Carnethy 02:34:45 FEMALE 1 - Charlotte Watson - Edinburgh Uni Hare & Hounds 03:00:14 2 - Jill Stephen - Hunters Bog Trotters 03:00:32 3 - Anwen Darlington - Dundee Road Runners 03:04:06 MALE VET 40+ 1 - Mark Harris - Anster Haddies 02:41:24 2 - Donald Naylor - Hunters Bog Trotters 02:42:11 3 - Stuart Malcolm - Highland Hill Runners 02:48:19 FEMALE VET 40+ 1 - Kirsty Bryan-Jones Dark Peak Fell Runners 03:31:05 2 - Mary Lye – Carnethy 03:48:05 3 - Katy Baxter Ochil Hill Runners 03:53:38 MALE VET 50+ 1 - Alan Smith – Deeside 02:42:29 2 - Will Manners - Strathearn Harriers 02:44:48 3 - Jonny Knox - Anster Haddies 02:50:16 FEMALE VET 50+ 1 - Andrea Prestley - Ochil Hill Runners 03:05:58 2 - Joan Wilson - Lomond Hill Runners 04:04:41 3 - Jo Polak – Unattached 04:20:22 MALE VET 60+ 1 - Richard Toller - Dundee Road Runners 04:10:47 2 - Tom Bowie – Unattached 04:50:14 3 - John Widderburn – Unattached 05:16:03 VET 70+ 1 - Gareth Bryan-Jones - Ochil Hill Runners 04:07:57 LOCAL 1 - Stephen Rawlinson – Lochtayside 03:06:39 TEAM 1 - Alasdair Anthony - Ochil Hill Runners 02:31:21 2 - David Cope - Ochil Hill Runners 02:40:53 3 - David Wallace - Ochil Hill Runners 02:49:13 4 - Grant Baxter - Ochil Hill Runners 02:56:33
WELL DONE TO ALL COMPETITORS! 8
Balquhidder Community Broadband Things may have been a little quiet publicly on the broadband front, but this simply means that, like the swans on the loch, we’ve been paddling furiously beneath the surface, trying to make headway against rising currents. Those currents have been in the form of some hair-rending bureaucracy that’s been belatedly thrown at us by government bodies and which are currently causing us months of delay. So let’s first rewind to this time last year, when we entered into the procurement process required by Community Broadband Scotland for public funding. We went out to market to solicit bids for a future-proof broadband service that could be provided at a market-competitive rate. What we got back were a few bids that were mostly poorly prepared, didn’t meet local needs and which offered equipment that would need replacing every few years. Uncool. But we did end up with a solution that would lend itself to a community-run service dig, would provide us with highly competitive and future-proof broadband speeds and a service which was financially viable once up and running without public subsidy. That did come in at a build cost higher than the EU procurement threshold – more of that anon. But we could fill the gap with funding from the Broadband Voucher Scheme for businesses by making an aggregated application for the businesses in the glen. That scheme was supposed to run until the end of March 2016. We were working to have our application ready by the end of October 2015. Great. Until the entire scheme was pulled, without notice, on 12 October. Back to square one. After a deal of wandering around with the begging bowl, we found a replacement funder for the defunct voucher scheme, in the shape of Stirling Council’s new five-year broadband fund, set up to help communities in its area who had been left out in the cold by BT’s rollout of ancient technology. At this point we went back to Community Broadband Scotland, with a cheerful, “Hey guys, we’ve got some possible additional funding, so let’s get started!”. only to be told that we now needed to go through a brand new procurement process, this time under the full EU procurement rules. Had we been told this at the beginning, we could have built this in to our original procurement (which was agreed by CBS, remember?) rather than having to start a process from scratch that would lose us this summer’s building season – the existence of a little thing called Winter around here didn’t seem to register. So, as you do, we phoned the EU Commissioner responsible, to ask just what was going on. He handed that to his team, who got back to us in a week with a very clear statement of what exemptions there were from the EU rules. We appeared to qualify for all three items on that list. Which is when we found out that the UK government had screwed up the process it had built around the EU regulations and wouldn’t take us forward on the route the EU told us we could take. The Scottish Government project (DSSB) was a clone of the UK project (BDUK) and the CBS programme was tied to DSSB and thence to BDUK, so we were stuck. This will be entirely familiar to anyone who has ever watched Yes, Minister – only in this case, we really, really couldn’t make it up. So we’re at the stage of spending considerable time shouting into the black hole of bureaucracy and hoping for an echo, however faint and distant. We’ve been assured that we’ll still be able to go ahead this year, but we’re not holding our collective breath. In the meantime we’ve been designing the network in detail, refining the costs and getting a schedule together for the work, based on a deal of community effort with the dig. We’ve also been looking to other grants and sponsorship that would let us actually cover some of the time that’s being put into the project: all these delays have eaten heavily into volunteer availability. In parallel with all this, we’ve been active in the media and at conferences: David Johnston gave a very well received talk (http://bit.ly/1sZHqv1) at this year’s conference of the UK Network Operators’ Forum (UKNOF); we attended an open day at the inspirational B4RN (b4rn.org.uk) community broadband project in Lancashire; Richard Harris gave a second interview to Radio 4’s PM programme on progress and the article he subsequently published on the web site (http://balquhidder.net/universalservice-exemption/) has been very widely circulated. We also have a journalist from the Daily Telegraph turning up in mid-June to spend a couple of days finding out what life is like in the barely connected sticks and we’re sure that there will be more to come. We do have funding commitments and once we get through the current procurement bureaucracy problems we firmly believe that we can deliver the future proof fibre broadband scheme as previously outlined. It will happen - and it’ll be worth waiting for.
Wild Camping 101 – A ‘How To’ Guide
Much to the delight of all but the winter diehards, summer has finally arrived. Those with an interest in the outdoors will soon be taking to the hills to enjoy Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty and wildlife. And what better way to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life than by spending a few nights under the stars with nothing but the sound of the odd owl to keep you up? Camping is a great way to experience the spectacular scenery of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. The stunning hills, lochs and glens of Scotland’s first National Park offer 720 square miles (1,865 sq. km) of amazing opportunities for happy campers to lose themselves in Scotland’s spectacular countryside, all within one-hour’s drive of 50% of the population of Scotland. Because it is so easy to get to, the Park is hugely popular with visitors, both from at home and abroad. In order to protect the special qualities of the Park it is important that campers and all other visitors take their environmental responsibilities seriously. The Park hosts numerous rare and protected species natural to the area; examples of these include wild otter, osprey, water vole, red squirrel, and numerous others. It’s easier to disrupt the Park’s natural eco-system than many visitors may think. For visitors that would prefer to use camp sites, the Park offers an excellent range of facilities – from full sites with hot showers, to low impact sites with water and biodegradable toilets during peak season. Others may prefer to camp in the wild. Known as wild camping or informal
camping it is any sort of camping in the great outdoors that doesn’t involve a formalised site or big group. Here are a few practical guidelines to help make sure that everyone gets to enjoy the best of the Park with minimal environmental impact.
How to be a responsible camper
rights – ‘Wild camping’ is lightweight and carried out in small numbers for no more than two or three nights in any one place. Access rights don’t extend to car or other motorised vehicles, nor do they permit long stays that may have a detrimental impact on the local environment. Pitching sites – Choose sites that don’t require you to put your landscaping skills into practice, and replace any stones or logs you move. It’s probably also worth noting that it sometimes rains in Scotland, so don’t pitch your tent in an area you think might flood! And avoid spots too near to roads or buildings, and sites that are at risk of being overused, to allow the ground to recover. Lighting fires - Use a stove if possible. If you must have an open fire, keep it small and under control as grassy and peaty areas are very vulnerable. Never cut down or damage trees for fuel – live trees contain too much water to burn anyway. Deadwood is a natural habitat for many little creatures so don’t burn it, and remember to remove any traces of a fire when you leave. Litter - There is no excuse. If you brought it with you, take it all away. Bottles, cans and plastics are particularly damaging, but even organic waste can
interfere with the local ecosystem and encourage scavengers into an area where they would not normally appear. Furthermore, it may also take a long time to biodegrade at higher altitudes. Set an example by picking up litter left by others if you can. Don’t burn any litter on fires; melted glass, plastic and metal will not biodegrade and releases harmful chemicals. Toilet etiquette – Take a trowel with you and bury your own toilet waste in a small hole, and not in areas which are likely to struggle to re-grow the vegetation you disturb. Urinate well away (minimum 30 metres) from open water, rivers, burns or other sources of drinking water. Take anything that isn’t biodegradable with you - this includes baby wipes. Other people - Take extra care to avoid disturbing deer stalking or grouse shooting. Move on, if the area is already busy. Respect the privacy of those living and working in this part of the world. If there is no safe alternative but to camp close to a house or building, seek the owner’s permission first. Always keep noise to a minimum. If you are leaving a car to walk to your site, remember to park it legally, somewhere safe and where it won’t be a nuisance with other people. Vehicles have a big impact on vegetation, so park on hard ground and in a safe area. Wherever you choose to camp please ensure you do it responsibly and respectfully. Leave nothing but footprints - and take nothing back with you but your rubbish - and happy memories! More information can be found in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
A Note from
Well, it doesn’t appear that my question about the House of Lords has fired anyone’s imagination so we’ll just let that one go..... I have just returned from the baptism of the prodigal son or, in my case the prodigal grandson. Matthew was a typical teenager - a real HANDFUL who caused his parents many sleepless nights of anxiety. The middle of three boys with an engaging smile and an indomitable spirit, he lived for his football, and latterly, his cricket. Like many boys with potential he never really worked at school, relying on a mixture of natural intelligence and charm to ease his way from one year to the next. Head-hunted for the local men’s cricket team, he was mixing with a set of sporty men, hard drinkers and party animals and he was often in trouble at home for the late hours he kept, sometimes creeping in in the small hours of the morning and frequently the worse for too much beer. Having failed to get the grades he needed for the university course he wanted and planning resits the following year his despairing parents sent him off to Nicaragua to help in a school founded by some members of their Church where Matt helped with teaching English and PE. Although brought up in a church-going Christian family Matt had rejected all that by the time he was in sixth form college, dismissing the Bible and denying the existence of God. When persuaded by his parents to accompany them to Church he embarrassed them with his bored expression and disrespectful attitude. Can you imagine my surprise when, two weeks ago, I was told by my daughter that Matthew wanted to be baptised? He is now in his second year at Sheffield University studying Chemistry and despite living in a house with mates who are totally sceptical he has joined the local Church. None of the three brothers was baptised as a baby as their parents believed this was something they should decide for themselves. So I had the privilege of seeing Matt, now 21 - all strapping 6’3” of him - dunked in a pool in the baptistery of the Church of St James, Crooke in Sheffield. (At first I thought he said the Church of St James the Crook which seemed quite apt...!). Before he was “dunked” (there must be a better word) however he had to explain why he wanted to be baptised and Matt boldly spoke of how he had been a nightmare to his parents for the last few years and had completely lost the plot, his life, he said, was “spiralling out of control.” His experience in Nicaragua had had a profound effect on him. He had never, he said, seen such generosity from people who had so little. There he was expected to join in times of worship and there he began to rediscover the Bible and, ultimately, God. Why am I telling you all this? Because we need to believe that with God nothing is impossible and lives really can be changed. Matt isn’t going to become some sort of goody-goody but he has made a step in the right direction to a better and healthier life where with God’s help, he will surely live a much more fulfilled life and reach his full potential. 10
BalquhiĐĐer •bls Reg. Charity No. SC012316
We have had plenty of visitors during this fine weather which is great. Pity they are only passing through. Never mind. The few of us who do come appreciate the services which our locum, Revd June Johnston gives us. We have also enjoyed having visiting ministers while she was away on holiday. There is no more news about any ministers interested in the vacancy. Maybe they come and look us up only to find local folk are not interested. At least they wouldn’t be over worked if things continue in this way. There has been no progress on repairs following the winter storm damage. Pity to have wasted all the fine weather. No doubt, when once the rains come it will be too wet and windy for builders to go up on the roof. There is no point in doing the inside work until the roof is done! Plans are afoot for the special summer services, with the St Angus day service on August 10th followed on the same evening by the Friends of Balquhidder Church A.G.M. More details will be forthcoming nearer the time. Meanwhile, we can enjoy summer weather in May while it lasts! Jean Edwards
Bring World War history to Life in your community Bring the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum to your community and get hands-on with our fascinating collection of original and replica objects and documents. You can borrow one of our “Handling Boxes” which cover World War 1 and World War 2. These boxes contain a wealth of interesting objects: handle an original Service Dress jacket from World War 1; examine a beautiful embroidered postcard or try on a replica helmet. Examine personal letters, read about the soldier who was to be shot for falling asleep at his post and look at images of military equipment and soldiers on the front line. Information on all of the items is included in the box. Whether you are a member of a Gala Committee, Local History Society, Reminiscence Group, Bowling Club, University of the Third Age, Village Hall Committee, Community Development Trust or Women’s Rural Institute, please contact us for details on how you can borrow one of our Handling Boxes for free by contacting: education@argylls. co.uk or 01786 475165.
McLaren High School S6 Pupils Say ‘Goodbye McLaren’ Friday 29 April was the last day of school for S6 pupils and the now annual waterslide provided lots of fun and laughter, along with a barbeque provided by Head Boy Craig Fingland. Goodbye and good luck to all our S6 pupils in whatever path you take. Stirling Secondary Schools Track & Field Championships 2016 On 4 May 2016 McLaren High School took part in the first annual Stirling Secondary Schools Track & Field Championships at Stirling University. Twenty-five pupils from S1-3 participated in 7 different athletics events (100m, 200m, 800m, 1500m, shot putt, long jump and 4x100m relay). For some of the pupils this was their first competitive athletics event. All of the pupils seemed to enjoy the experience and did extremely well, holding their own in the various different events throughout the day. In total the pupils placed in 15 events, well done! A big well done to all who participated and congratulations to those who managed to place in the top three! Hope to see you all there next year. Sponsored Walk Friday 6 May saw our annual sponsored walk take place in weather that was ideal for walking, some sun and a bit of a breeze. The walk followed the well-trodden route from the school through Coilhallan Wood toward the fish farm, returning along the Invertrossachs Road. In advance of the walkers, Mr Robertson and Mr Younger chaperoned a group of runners to complete a couple of laps of the course. Classes then set off at five minute intervals allowing a fairly even spread of participants along the way, avoiding crowding. PE staff also cycled the route as part of the stewarding process. There was an air of energy and enthusiasm amongst pupils as they enjoyed an afternoon away from their normal routine. Walking with friends, chatting, taking in the scenery, passing time with the teachers who were walking ora stewarding the route all contributed to a fun afternoon. Most classes completed the 5km route in just over an hour and the next important stage of collecting the money is now in full swing. Any parents, friends or relatives who sponsored someone should pass money on as soon as possible. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has donated. All of the money raised from the sponsored walk will stay in the school to the benefit of McLaren High pupils. Current total raised stands at £1,542.00. Thank you to everyone who took part and were involved in making this such a successful day. This year we were also assisted by PC Tracy Diamond, School Based Officer, and supported by the Forestry Commission.
Above: Duncan Hendry celebrates his last day; Right: Craig Fingland demonstrates his prowess at the barbecue! Below: Sponsored Walk participants.
Lochearnhead Highland Games For the first time in weeks I find it is damp enough to be an excuse to stay in and write our annual bit for the Games which this year are on the 23rd July. Only nine weeks to the big day! It is thanks to our hard working committee and to you, our patrons and sponsors, that we can run and finance this great event. Last year we were once again blessed by the weather Gods, resulting in a good crowd. The Perthshire Games association leagues are obviously making a difference (Heavies and Dancing) but there was also a very good turnout of Open Athletes. The piping was of a very high standard - but alas, we could do with a few more pipers! Unfortunately we compete with pipe band competitions and a lot of the competing pipers play in pipe bands. Jean and her helpers managed to organize and put on a fantastic dancing event with over forty dancers. Graham and his squad did a great job organizing the many running events and produced a good show on the track. Liz and her team do a great job taking your money at the gates. Mike, our Fieldmaster, always seems to lift our spirits when things go wrong or seem impossible;
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he always attends to a panic somewhere on the park and puts it right. Paul and his parking crew have probably the longest day and any help, even if just for an hour or two, would be very welcome. None of us is getting any younger! We are constantly trying to improve and renew the field and equipment. Our new beer tent did a tremendous job last year, especially when the games finished and the Ceilidh started; the heavens opened and the tent was packed! Our field is always in need of tweaking - our new drains seem to work well! They had a good testing over the winter. The hard standing for the beer tent area has been a success and helps extend the field. Unfortunately the entrance near the hall was washed away during the winter floods but we have this in hand and hopefully, with some aid from a council grant, this will be repaired before the Games. As you can imagine, this all costs money, and time from our very small army of volunteers. So once again we are asking if you would be generous enough to help us with some form of Patronage or Sponsorship for this important event in the local calendar. Should you wish to sponsor an event, please contact me, Alex Gargolinski on 07860 644709 or Ken McCallum 01786 825270/07973 285126 and we can discuss what and how. Also if you feel you would like to help with setting up, or on the day with Car Parking, Bar (help very much needed), Gates or on the field... please let us know, It does not have to be all day, an hour or two will be a great help. Just give one of the above a ring. We are sending this newsletter to all our friends and patrons to give you a reminder that the committee are doing their best to keep the games ‘afloat’ and continue the success they have enjoyed for many years.
Our first records in Balquhidder are from 1838! We will as usual put a list of our Patrons in the programme. If you have taken on an event, we will add your name or business name. The sum donated will not be listed. We will also send you tickets for entry into the park - and you will be invited to join the convenors in some ‘light’ refreshments. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future and seeing you at the Games. Yours Aye Angus Cameron, President
Half Marathon/Fun Run Saturday 25th June 2016
This is a 10K, half marathon and fun run event that will start at 11am from Mhor 84 and finish at approximately 2pm at Mhor 84. The picturesque route will link the villages of Balquhidder, Strathyre and Lochearnhead offering participants spectacular views of the area. Participants in the half marathon will run along the road from Mhor 84 towards Balquhidder, past the Church before turning left, crossing the bridge and taking the back road towards Strathyre. Once runners arrive in Strathyre they will run back along cycle route 7 towards Mhor 84, before crossing the road and continuing on route 7. The 10K and second section of the half-marathon will be on the route 7 cycle path between Mhor 84 and Lochearnhead. If you are travelling by car between 11am and 12pm on the 25th of June, please do so with caution! Thank you.
Pete Waugh, Tay Fitness 13
SEEING STARS JUNE 2016 by Keith Wilson
You are here
Tea in the Garden The weather this last week or so has been glorious - just what we need to tempt us out into the garden to start our yearly round of weeding and planting. One of the most regal spring flowering plants that I have been enjoying recently is the camellia, with lovely glossy leaves and gorgeous blooms. Camellias are from the family Theacea and there are over 250 different varieties. Three varieties of camellia produce tea, and those are C. Sinensis, C. Assamica and C. Cambodiensis.
Camellias originate from the Far East and much of the varied and exotic flora that we enjoy in our gardens today was introduced by the early explorers and ‘plant hunters’. Indiana Jones had it easy! These guys were extreme adventurers with long sea voyages lasting several months, followed by travel into inhospitable often mountainous wildernesses or jungles in search of new plants. One of the most famous ‘plant hunters’ was a Scot named Robert Fortune who ventured into China, dressed as a local, complete with shaved head and pigtail. Fortune’s mission was to steal tea seeds and smuggle them out of China at a time when China held a monopoly on world tea trade and was extremely politically unstable. It took Fortune several years to track down seeds and get them to 14
The Milky Way
India. At the time tea plants had not been discovered growing in Assam and the East India Company were desperate to produce Empire grown tea. Coming back to our own Scottish gardens, all Camellias need are well drained acidic soils (ph 4.5-5.5) to survive. They hate chalky soils or heavy clay. They are best planted in partial shade and sheltered from the worst winds. However, the vast majority of Camellias are not hardy enough to survive - so take care to buy varieties that will. Good all round varieties are Anticipation, a peony-flowerer with lovely crimson blooms, Brigadoon and Donation with large semi-double pink blooms. Bowen Bryant has soft pink flowers and Cornish Snow is the only white-flowering hybrid that is recommended for hardy climes. Many Camellias cling on to their flowers long after they go brown - apart from the Williamsii hybrids which are selfshedding. The tea producing Camellias are the ‘anoraks’ of the plant world - rather plain little bushes with small unassuming yellow flowers. It’s hard to believe the blood sweat and tears that have gone into producing what is still the most popular drink on the planet (after water) with some 165 million cups being drunk each day. Whether your personal ‘cup of tea’ is black, white, green or oolong - all types of tea are produced from the same plants but with different processes. Really good tea can be brewed several times over; there is a Chinese saying along the lines of “the first cup is for enemy, the second cup for your friend and the third cup for yourself.” A cup of tea and a plate of scones in the garden on a sunny day has to be, in my opinion, one of life’s greatest pleasures. Cheers to those hardy Scottish plant hunters!
Summer nights are light to late but if you stay up to the early hours you can see the evidence that we live on a planet circling a star in a huge galaxy along with billions and billions of other stars. The evidence looks like a river across the sky - a milky band of dust, gas and stars which has been there since before Earth first formed. It is of course the Milky Way, our galaxy. The Milky Way is important to us; however it is just one of billions of galaxies in our universe Our galaxy is shaped like a huge rotating whirlpool made up of 200 billion stars. It is so big that it takes light 100 000 years to cross from one side to the other. The centre of the galaxy is hard to see because of clouds of gas and dust which block our view but scientists think that it has a massive black hole that swallows anything passing too close. When you look at the Milky Way above your head this month what you are actually doing is looking at the centre of our galaxy as seen edge-on from one of its spiral arms. We are seeing the galaxy from the inside. Are you sitting down reading this copy of The Villagers? You might think you are not moving but in actual fact you are moving through the universe at a tremendous speed at this very moment. Earth rotates on its axis once each day; it travels around the Sun once each year; the Sun travels around our galaxy and our galaxy is moving with other galaxies through space. When you add up the figures you are at this moment hurtling through space at 3 million miles per hour, even though it feels you are sitting still! Have a good journey!
Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses Please note that the training day on the 23rd June has now been cancelled. Unfortunately, NHS24 cannot provide cover. Both practices and Community Nursing staff will operate as usual. Bracklinn Practice Now is the time when you will be looking forward to a summer holiday, perhaps abroad. Make sure you have up to date vaccinations, insurance, an up to date European Health Card and plenty of high factor sun block. If you are not sure what vaccines you require, collect a travel questionnaire from the surgery and make a 20 minute appointment with the Practice Nurse to discuss your completed form. You will be advised what vaccines are required (if any) at this appointment. We require at least 8 weeks’ notice prior to your departure to be able to administer the vaccines in plenty of time. Please note that some vaccines incur a cost as they are not covered under the NHS, and some vaccines can only be provided by a private travel clinic. We hope you have a safe trip and enjoy your holiday. Leny Practice and Bracklinn Practice Both practices are hoping to start a joint patient forum in the near future. However, we need your ideas and help in arranging this. Karen Brown (Leny Practice Manager) and Margaret Davis (Bracklinn Practice Manager) would love to visit social, committee or charity groups to discuss “What you want or expect from your GP Practice”. Please phone the surgery’s on 01877 331000 or 01877 331001, or alternatively, call into the medical centre to discuss it further.
June is the month when most of our U3A groups plan their last meetings before the summer break but outings to include all members are still to come while Swimming, Bridge, Table Tennis and Quintessentials continue. We have had a steady influx of new members since the start of the year and because some of them live as far out as Killin we are planning to offer some parallel groups at a venue in their village when the new term starts in September. Before then we have booked Callander Kirk Hall for our 4th AGM and Enrolment Day which will take place on Tuesday 23 August from 3.00pm. Further details will be available nearer the time.
Welcomed openly by the people of Callander A little over 18 months ago a brand new District Nursing Team was introduced to Callander. The team comprises myself - Majella Beattie, District Nurse; Evelyn Wilson and Michelle McEwan (both Community Staff Nurses). With big boots to fill, we embarked on our journey of introducing ourselves, building new relations, developing services and introducing new staff and ways of working. We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you, most sincerely - to everyone here at Callander Medical Centre; the Callander Community, patients, carers, families, friends and the surrounding teams have made us feel so welcome. Your kindness has been displayed in so many thoughtful ways: with cards, gifts and notices in the Ben Ledi View. The role of the District Nursing services is predominantly for house bound patients. This can be short term, due to recovery after short illness, or longer term, due to ongoing chronic conditions. We also provide a treatment room service for the Callander Community. As part of patients’ recovery and recuperation, we encourage them to attend the treatment room when able. This not only provides individuals with flexibility, but increases interaction, socialisation and physical activity. This assists patients with the opportunity to arrange appointments that are suitable for them - and allows us to arrange appointments around our daily community commitments. The District Nurses are forever developing and ever changing; we work from 08.30 to 16.30, Monday to Friday. We provide a messaging service, which is monitored, throughout the day. Our contact number is 01877 330150. We also work out of hours Saturday and Sunday, which can be accessed via NHS 24, on 111.
*Once in demand by Victorian miniaturists, the tiny pin-feather comes from the leading edge of a woodcock’s wing and only two such feathers occur on each bird (one on each wing). This month Old Nyati deplores the state of The World in general, but lightens the mood first with some...
Extracts from visitors’ books
In the visitors’ book at the Scottish Wetlands Reserve at Caerlaverock. Name: “A Swan” Address: “Iceland” Comments: “It was weird to wake up with all those humans looking at us, but the food was good.”
And in the visitors’ book at the top of Ben Nevis: “Missed the view, and viewed the mist.” And finally at the Yacht Club: “Good food - and I had the wind!!”
The World is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel outdated. To be calm and contented becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non up-graded existence. To be comfortable with our own messy, human lives, would not be good for business. I have always been like that! Old Nyati 16
Callander & Trossachs Summerfest We’re back for a third year with even more activities and events to entertain you at venues all around Callander! From 16 to 31 July we’ll be open every day from 11 till 5pm at St Kessog’s, the former church in Ancaster Square, now the HQ for the Clanranald Trust. Here we’ll have a packed programme of free exhibitions with a focus on pottery and local heritage, and afternoons and evenings filled with music, poetry and films. Add to this an evening with the former Makar Liz Lochhead in the Kirk Hall, the Riverside Ceilidh Band at the Dreadnought Hotel, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the High School, a community outdoor festival and ceilidh at McLaren Leisure and a whole series of craft and music workshops, walks and cycle rides we truly have something for everyone! The full programme will also be on www.callandercdt.org.uk and www.mclarenleisure.co.uk and we’ll keep up to date with news and any changes on Facebook (CallanderSummerfest) and Twitter (@callanderfest). Check in for any last minute additions or changes. Look out for our bright pink brochures!
Callander Rambling Club
Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear
The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on http:// www.incallander.co.uk/r a m b l e r s . htm in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary: June 2016 • Wed 1 June 09:30 Ramble: Cochno & Loch Humphrey (8.5miles) contact 01786 841240 We meet in Ancaster Square, unless otherwise indicated. Please bring wet weather clothing, appropriate footwear and a packed lunch. And please let the walk leader know if you plan to join the walk via the contact number given. Thanks!
Free range rare breed pork for sale
We sell fresh pork as 1/2 pigs (20kg) and 1/4 pigs (10kg) every 3 months. Next available - August 2016. We also sell frozen sausage and bacon packs - £25. We can arrange drop off points in the local area.
Contact: Fiona MacLennan t: 07783116399 e: email@example.com facebook: Glenorchy Farm
Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in his shoes. That way if he gets angry, he’ll be a mile away, and barefoot. – unknown Blessed is he that can laugh at himself; he will never cease to be amused. – unknown
The Cuckoo: A Murderous Rampage
First, find your ready nest and lay your egg... your chick will efficiently dispatch any eggs taking up valuable space... and it’ll be fed by the bereaved parent. Simple!
All through May, the sound of the Cuckoo has been heard quite clearly. They are nature’s hustlers, cheats that have perfected the ultimate long con. But even though they are born with an instinctive need to murder, our spirits are raised when we hear their cry. In fact, their song is one of the few bird calls that just about anyone can identify, whether you’re a birder or not. The story of the cuckoo’s treachery is well known, but have you ever stopped to think how they do it? Why does the tiny reed warbler or meadow pipit
CALLANDER P H OTO C LU B Please join us for our next meeting of Callander Photo Club to be held Wednesday, 8 June, 7:30 pm at the Waverley Hotel on Callander Main Street. The meeting will include our
and dinner from the Waverley’s fine menu. We will share photos and choose our member favourites, discuss the Summerfest photo competition and our plans for the future. The photo word for June is ‘GOLDEN’. Send your photos (no more than 4) to firstname.lastname@example.org All are welcome. Members £1/Guests £3. For more information, email email@example.com. See us on Facebook at Callander Photo Club. June photo word: ‘LIGHT’
spend its spring tearing around to feed the gargantuan interloper that is spilling out of its nest? And why bother with the deceit in the first place? Why doesn’t the cuckoo just rear its own young, instead of abdicating responsibility to its poor victims? As we strain to hear the first call of the harbinger of spring, it’s time to turn nature detective and discover the true story behind the cuckoo’s fascinating crime. It’s a crime that has captivated nature lovers for centuries. In the 18th century, Edward Jenner first recorded a newly hatched cuckoo’s murderous rampage. Puzzled by the migratory cuckoo’s parasitical existence, he suggested that the adult birds simply didn’t have time to raise their young, needing to nip back to Africa as soon as possible. Around the same time, the famed naturalist Gilbert White guessed that the cuckoo’s substantial stomach meant that it couldn’t incubate its eggs. To White, the desertion of the eggs was a “monstrous outrage on maternal affection”. But it was Charles Darwin who cut to the chase in 1859’s On the Origin of Species. He identified the immense benefit of being a brood parasite. Freed from parental duties, the cuckoo was able to lay many more eggs than its victims. However, Darwin’s observation prompts one question: if the cuckoo’s con is so effective, why aren’t more birds at it? Of all of British birds, only the common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) goes to such extraordinary lengths, and worldwide only around 1 percent of all birds share its methods. After 23 years studying the cuckoo’s sinister plans in Wicken Fen, Britain’s foremost expert on cuckoo behaviour, Dr Nicholas Davies of the University of Cambridge, is able to shed some light on the matter. “Foisting your parental duties on somebody else may seem to be a wonderful thing to do,” he explains. “But over evolutionary time, the hosts fight back so that the poor cuckoo has to work incredibly hard to be lazy, simply because
it has to overcome all of these defences. What we witness is a fantastic arms race between parasite and host.” This titanic battle commences with that famous bird call. In May, the blue-grey male cuckoo arrives on our shores from Africa and booms out his distinctive ‘cuccoo’, thereby establishing himself as God’s gift to the slightly browner female. Nature takes its course and the female’s work begins. If you think you’re a good birdwatcher, you’ve nothing on the female cuckoo. Perching motionless in a tree she will lay in wait, monitoring the nests of her potential victims. When the host is away feeding, the cuckoo strikes, silently swooping into the empty nest and gobbling down one of the host’s eggs so that her own, which she speedily lays, is offered better incubation. Her job done, she zooms off, never to see her offspring again. The entire operation takes just 10 seconds! The cuckoo’s egg has a head start, requiring half-a-day’s less incubation than the host’s clutch, possibly due to the fact that newly laid cuckoo eggs contain partly developed embryos. The chick’s homicidal tendencies are just as developed, and within hours of hatching the blind and naked infant pushes any remaining eggs from the nest. If any other chicks have had the misfortune to have already hatched, they’re also barged out to fall to their deaths. Alone in the nest, the cuckoo now has the sole attention of its foster parents, who will dart around to feed it, leaving them no time to breed again for the entire season. So, we know how the cuckoo pulls off its dastardly plan, but still haven’t answered the question of why. Is it a cruel or evil bird? Of course not. This is just nature at work, and perhaps one of the best examples of Darwin’s survival of the fittest. The arms race will continue, with both sides evolving to protect themselves or deceive the other, but our fascination with the cuckoo will remain. After all, Countryfile everyone loves a rogue. 17
Clan MacLaren Excursion Friday 22 July
The Clan MacLaren Society, supported by the Scottish Clan Event Fund, will be running an excursion around sites of interest to the MacLaren clan on Friday 22 July. The excursion will be led by Charlie Hunter, a well-known guide. Participation will be free and is available on a first-come basis. The excursion will be advertised locally and will be open to interested people living in the area. Provisional Programme 10 am Depart Lochearnhead car park Our first visit will be to Briar Cottage formerly known as Easter Auchraw and one of the oldest still inhabited cottages in the area. In the 1790s Archibald McLaren moved into the cottage and generations of his family lived there for the next 100 years. We will then visit the historic burial ground at Leckine where the MacLarens had been buried since at least the 1700s and probably much earlier given the antiquity of the Adveich line. After this we will drive to Glen Tarken and see the remains of the farm town where McLarens lived from the 17th century. We will drive to Killin for a sandwich lunch and there we will see Killin’s McLaren Hall and the interesting burial ground where McLarens have been buried for generations. After lunch we will drive to Balquhidder where we will visit the Old Kirk, built in 1631, that is looked after by the Clan MacLaren Society. We will look at some interesting memorials to the clan in the churchyard and visit the present Kirk. Then we will walk up the hill to Creag an Tuirc (the traditional rallying place of the clan) where we will get a magnificent view of Loch Voil. From the lookout we will see the field where Rob Roy McGregor was defeated in a duel against Charles Stewart of Ardsheal (some say it was Alexander Stewart of Invernahyle) in 1734. Then we will the drive around Loch Voil towards Loch Doine. 18
We will divide the party into two. One group will walk (stout shoes recommended) to the ruined Invernenty Cottage where Donald McLaren lived. Donald was a drover and a farmer. He gained fame as a Captain in the Appin Regiment that fought at the battle of Culloden. Donald was wounded during the battle, and after being captured later made a daring escape from his captors. This walk may not be suitable for everyone as it involves a bit of a scramble and the crossing of a burn. Participants not wishing to take the walk can go to the nearby beautifully situated Monachyle Mhor hotel for afternoon tea. Please tick the option box below. (5.00pm Return to Lochearnhead.) To reserve a place on the excursion please email or post the following details to the Secretary: firstname.lastname@example.org or Neil McLaurin, Victoria House, Letcombe Regis, Wantage Oxfordshire OX12 9JQ Clan MacLaren Excursion
I wish to reserve ___ places on the
excursion and my contact details are: Name: Address:
Country: Telephone (including area code): Landline: Mobile: I wish to have lunch at Killin (price £5.00) Note: drinks are at your expense and I have enclosed £____ with my application. Cheques made out to the Clan MacLaren Society please. I wish to join the walk to Invernenty Cottage. I wish to have tea at Monachyle Mhor at my own expense. Special dietary requirements:
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life. – Unknown A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory. – Unknown A closed mouth gathers no feet. Sam Horn
Farm Forum: Happy Lambs on the Hill Well that is the first election past and,
by the time you read the next Villagers the referendum will have been and gone. I wonder what we will all talk about then - Oh, I forgot that we will have to have recriminations and discuss what might have happened if the result had gone the other way! From the agricultural point of view the biggest change resulting from the Scottish elections is the replacement of The Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Richard Lochhead, by Fergus Ewing whose title is Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity. Richard Lochhead has done the job for nine years and I think his term of office must be considered a success. The last part of his term was blighted by the new farm support computer system for handling the new CAP payments. This has been an unmitigated disaster and is still having very serious consequences for the Scottish agricultural industry and
firms supplying it. There is still no end in sight for the crisis. As I write the excellent spell of weather has just come to an end and it is raining. This has been some of the best weather that has coincided with the hill lambing for a long time. It is unusual in this area to hear people say that we needed the rain but there is an element of truth in it that is borne out by the effect on the grass in a couple of days. The sad thing nowadays is that at this time of year ground nesting birds are conspicuous by their absence - there used to be lots of curlews and peewits; now there are none. Some will say “changes in farming practices” are to blame, but in this area that is complete nonsense. There was a meeting at SNH headquarters at Battleby recently at which the Scottish Gamekeepers Association highlighted a ten year research project by GWCT, which showed that birds such as curlew,
The Peewit - or Lapwing
peewits and plover produce up to three times more chicks on land where gamekeepers legally manage predators. The unfortunate thing about this is that it had to take ten years to prove the obvious and perhaps convince those involved that when you start interfering with nature by protecting species - not to mention reintroducing - you create unforeseen problems that might have been foreseen with more balanced consideration beforehand.
Do you need an affordable home? Rural Stirling Housing Association aims to support local communities by providing quality homes at affordable rents for families, couples and single people in housing need. We currently have over 550 rented houses and flats. Around 50 of these become available for rent each year. We hope to have new properties in Strathblane and Balmaha soon and currently have properties in the following communities
Aberfoyle Deanston Gartmore Lochearnhead Balfron Doune Killin Strathyre Buchlyvie Drymen Kinlochard Stronachlachar Callander Gargunnock Kippen Tyndrum
We may be able to build in other communities in the future – please let us know to if you want to live in a village that is not listed above. Information on local housing need and demand helps us plan for the future. If you are interested one of our properties become available please
in renting when they contact us:
Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone: 01786 841101 Email: email@example.com www.rsha.org.uk
Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SC037849
Finally, it looks like summer may be on the way! As the weather picks up, we see a noticeable rise in visitor numbers around our lochsides and the roads become much busier. Over the last few weeks there have been a number of collisions on our trunk roads; the A84, A85 and A82. Thankfully there has been no serious or fatal collisions to write about. We have noticed a difference in having dedicated Roads Policing Officers in the area each weekend as part of Operation Zenith, and this is assisting us in reducing the number of collisions we have to deal with, allowing us to focus time on our Ironworks patrols. Timing is key to Ironworks shifts and getting to a group before they become a handful is the most important thing so that we can get their details and give them some education about their behaviour. This month we have seen controlled drugs being found on a group at Strathyre and 9 reports have been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal with regards to motorists. A number of these included drivers who were driving well in excess of the speed limits, including one who thought it acceptable to pass through Strathyre in excess of 60mph! A number of conditional offers have also been issued to motorists for a variety of road traffic offences. By stopping and educating motorists, we hope that it will reduce the number of collisions we have to deal with. Motorcyclists generally get a bad press, but being a fairly tight knit group, word soon gets around with regards to our presence. We have certainly heard that word has spread about our enforcement on these local roads, assisted by the Roads Policing Officers who are now enforcing the reduced 50mph limits in the area, as well as colleagues from the Safety Camera Partnership who are operating each weekend. On some occasions we have seen 3 of these vans in the area, particularly on a weekend that is forecast to be busy in efforts to deter excessive speed. Bogus workmen Over the past weekend there have been a number of “cold calling” incidents which have occurred in the Callander area, whereby males have turned up unannounced and tried to offer their services to the occupants. Whilst many legitimate tradesmen will use this technique, the vast majority unfortunately are “con men” and will undoubtedly do a shoddy job and charge a fortune in the process. On one of the occasions, by one of the 20
males distracting the home owner, it has allowed the other to enter into the property and steal items from within. This is another commonly used tactic that we have seen used before. The incidents in Callander were carried out by 2 males, one was dressed quite smartly and the other was described as scruffy. They were using a silver car and they spoke with Scottish accents. If you have any similar visitors appearing at your door, please contact the police immediately. The best advice that I can give you is don’t agree to any work on the doorstep. Try to take details of any vehicles and if they will give you a business card or leaflet, take one. If you are not interested, ask them to leave and contact the police. If you do answer one door, please make sure any other doors to your property are
kept locked in order to prevent someone accessing whilst you are distracted. Again, if you have your doubts, please contact me with any details and I will do enquiries and try to catch up with them. Consider contacting the Trading Standards department at Stirling Council, and they should be able to provide advice regarding the legitimacy of the company or individual involved. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at william.diamond@ scotland.pnn.police.uk. Regards, PC Will Diamond
Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at Lochearnhead Village Hall, on 18th May 2016
Please note that these minutes have not yet received formal approval and should be considered as a draft version only. Present: Malcolm McNaughton (MM), Paul Hicks (PH), Alice Duncan (AD), Loraine Telfer (LT), and Karen Methven (KM). Apologies: Angus Cameron, Ruth McLusky, Adrian Squires, David Johnston, Richard Eastland, PC Diamond (WD), Police Scotland, Theresa Elliot (Stirling Council) and Billy Ronald (National Park). In attendance: Cllr Martin Earl (ME), Stirling Council. 1) Approval of Minutes It was proposed by LT, and seconded by AD, that the minutes of the meeting on 6th April 2016 should be accepted, and this was approved unanimously. 2) Declarations of Interest Nobody present made any declaration of interest. 3) Police Report WD was unable to be present but had passed on a written report with the following details. Between 4th April and 12th May 2016, one offence of possession of controlled drugs was detected in Strathyre. A report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal. No offences of theft or other crimes in our area had been reported to the police. Nine reports have been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal for various traffic-related offences, including three drivers who were well in excess of the speed limit on the A84 at Lochearnhead and Strathyre. The fastest recorded was 61mph through Strathyre. In addition, several fixed penalty notices were issued to motorists for offences including speeding, having untaxed vehicles, uninsured vehicles, and driving without an MOT certificate. High visibility patrols and static road checks continued, in order to deter and detect travelling criminals - given recent thefts elsewhere in the local area - as well as patrols under Operation Ironworks. Roads Policing officers targeted the trunk roads on A84, A85 and A82 every weekend as part of Operation Zenith, which is focused on driver behaviour and road safety, concentrating on enforcement and education in respect of motorcyclists. MM was grateful for this report but went on to state his particular interest in the forthcoming events of the summer period, especially the Mhor Festival. Last year there had been considerable problems owing to the volume of traffic for this event. He expressed the hope that the police would be preparing a plan to deal with additional traffic this year. It would be especially helpful if parking on the Glen Road could be banned temporarily. Last year, vehicles were unable to pass each other because of parked vehicles on the sides of the road, and this had led to some bad-tempered exchanges between motorists. ME stated that he had spoken recently to the new regional manager for Transport Scotland (George Fiddes) regarding the provision of appropriate materials for the police to post notices of temporary road closures and diversions. He had been assured that these would be made available within the next three or four weeks. AD reported recent problems in Strathyre over the weekend of 6-8th May when a number of families with dogs and children had set up camp in the field owned by the Forestry Commission, between the Broch Cafe and the river running between Loch Voil and Loch Lubnaig. Cars had been parked on the grass, and bonfires set on it, with considerable noise and annoyance to local residents. AD had reported this to the police who had attended but stated that no offences were being committed. A great deal of litter, including human and dog waste, was left when the campers departed. This was discussed at length, with the hope expressed that the new camping bye-law, now approved by the Scottish Government, would provide the necessary powers to take positive action to prevent such nuisance in future. In the meanwhile, it was suggested that a letter be written to the area police commander, querying why it was not possible to deal with offences of littering in this instance. It was also agreed that a letter should be written to the Forestry Commission to query what action they would be prepared to take regarding such activities. Action: PH to write to FC and Police regarding this incident. 4) Matters Arising 4a) Flooding in Lochearnhead. PH reported that he had received a reply from the new regional manager (George Fiddes) at Transport Scotland, and work was currently being undertaken on the A85 at Lochearnhead. 4b) War memorials. AD reported that she had obtained one reasonable quotation for this work and had applied for a grant. There was some discussion as to whether one quotation would be sufficient, and AD reported that many people were not prepared to offer a quotation at all, probably due to the distance involved. It was suggested that Ian Bridie might be approached to consider providing a second quotation. Action: AD to seek further quotations. 4c) Waste collection site, Callander. PH reported that Cllr Fergus Wood had been able to establish that this facility is not about to close, and there are no plans or ongoing discussions to even consider it at the moment. The opening hours are: Monday to Friday: from 5pm to 8pm; Saturday: 10am to 2pm; Sunday: Closed all day. 4d) Station Court, Strathyre. AD had reported the problem to the Rural Stirling Housing Association in Doune and, shortly afterwards, the area has been tidied up. It now looks very nice. This prompted AD to reiterate that the Strathyre resident who had been having the problem with the high hedge was extremely grateful that this had been resolved following his attendance at the community council. 4e) Beech Trees in Balquhidder Glen. PH reported that he had liaised with the Planning Department at the National Park but is still awaiting a detailed reply. 4f) Lochearnhead Garages. This site, beside a main trunk road, is currently lying unused with derelict buildings that do not show the village in its best light. ME explained that Stirling Council has money available for capital works related to both city development and the rural ‘framework’, and it has been suggested that money from this fund might be used to help clear the site, thus making the village a more attractive destination for visitors. However, ME pointed out that the fund is essentially designed to promote capital projects for building and construction, and may not be judged suitable for this purpose. However, ME stated that he had spoken with the landowner and suggested a meeting with the Economic Development Manager at the Council, who might be able to assist. It was agreed that the first priority was to talk with the landowner, and clarify what options might be feasible. 5)Presentation of accounts The former treasurer, Alistair Barclay, had prepared the accounts for the past financial year, and had them reviewed by an independent auditor. These were presented and PH proposed that they should be accepted. This was seconded by LT and approved unanimously. 6) Appointment of officers The Deputy Chair and Treasurer had only recently been appointed, and it was accepted that there was no need for a formal ratification of all the posts, but MM and PH stated their willingness to continue as Chair and Secretary respectively, and this was approved unanimously. MM expressed a vote of gratitude to PH for his work over the previous year. 7) Childrens’ playground, Lochearnhead PH reported that PC Diamond had received a comment from a member of the public concerning the potential danger of children running directly out into the road at the entrance (and exit) from the playground situated between Auchraw Terrace and Vorlich Road in Lochearnhead. PH reminded members that this had originally been raised in October 2014 and, at that time, the owner of the newly developed holiday home, immediately adjacent to the entrance, had offered to provide some sort of barrier as part of his building work. Although this offer had been accepted gratefully by the community council, it appears that it was overlooked by the contractors ñ or never confirmed ñ and the work was not carried out. PH said that, based on the original intention - as recorded in the minutes (item 4c) for 29th October 2014 ñ he had contracted a local resident (Martin Saunders) on behalf of the community council, to erect a small fence with a narrow gap that should serve the desired purpose. Mr Saunders was willing to do this work for nothing, provided that his expenses for the materials required could be reimbursed. This was supported and agreed. 8) Waste services road-show PH reported that Stirling Council Waste Services Department is planning to develop a ìroad-showî presentation that could be featured in any community events taking place between June and September this year. Organizers who would be interested in using the road-show as part of their event are asked to contact the Waste Projects and Communications Officer, Jenni Nicolson, at firstname.lastname@example.org. 9) Bye-law and Clearways. PH reported having now made contact with the new solicitor for Stirling Council (Peter Farquhar) regarding progress with the alcohol bye-law. The current situation is that detailed discussions have taken place recently with the police regarding the proposed legislation, but there have been no new developments in the past two weeks. It was requested that, in the light of the recent incident at Strathyre, a further update be requested to ensure that matters are progressing expeditiously. Action: PH to request further update. 10) Correspondence 10a) MM had received a letter from the Recreation Supervisor (Ann Gilchrist) at the Forestry Commission regarding thinning operations at Kirkton Glen that are about to take place. There will be some Heavy Goods Vehicles on the road over the next few weeks. KM pointed out that some remedial work is still required from the previous operations here. In particular some of the dykes have been inadvertently filled in and this needs to be rectified, because any substantial rain will cause surface flooding of the road. ME suggested that a site visit would be beneficial, and PH asked if it would be possible to supply some photographs of the problem areas, to clarify things for all parties. ME offered to make himself available to attend any site meeting. Action: PH to contact FC and arrange a site meeting to discuss repairs to drains and dykes. 10b) MM reported that an Extraordinary General Meeting of the ìLoch Lomond and the Trossachs Community Partnershipî will be held at 10:30am on Saturday, 21st May 2016 at the Three Villages Hall, Arrochar. The EGM will be followed by a selection of workshops looking at asset management and acquisition. Information will also be on hand from the Social Enterprise Academy and BIG lottery. Guests will receive complimentary refreshments and a light lunch. 11) Planning Matters Nothing new had been notified. 12) Matters From Councillors 12a) ME reported that Helen Geddes, who had been responsible primarily at Stirling Council for liaison with community councils, had retired on 13th May. PH added that he had been aware of this and had sent Helen a brief note of thanks on behalf of the community council. 12b) The Royal Bank of Scotland is closing its branch in Callander on 18th August. In its place, a mobile service will be provided once a week. 12c) A full Council meeting is due to take place on 19th May. The main proposal will be to seek ratification on structural changes to the Council, reducing the number of directors from five to three. 13) Any Other Competent Business Nothing further was raised under this item. There was no other business and, at 8:50 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 29th June 2016 at Strathyre Village Hall.
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• DIARY DATES • We e k l y A c t i v i t i e s Monday
Bowling - St Fillans Lunch Club - The Scout Station, Lochearnhead - 12.30pm - 2.30pm
Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm Country Dancing - St Fillans
Wednesday Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm Thursday
Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30pm to 9pm (contact Gill 01877 384203) Darts League - The Inn & Bistro - 7.00pm
Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon (Contact Mel Brydie 01877 384668)
CHURCH SERVICES Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St. Fillans CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316
JUNE 2016 11 Dhanakosa Open Day - see page 2 25 Run Mhor 84 - see page 13
JULY 2016 2 Lochearnhead Shears - see page 5 22 Clan McLaren Excursion - see page 18 23 Lochearnhead Games - see page 13
The Villagers’ Photographer Jason Allardyce
www.allardycephotography.co.uk facebook.com/allardycephotography 01877 384295 / 07508 595211 Wedding, Portrait, Social, Pet Photography Councillor Martin Earl Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 922 firstname.lastname@example.org Councillor Alycia Hayes Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07881 310 924 email@example.com Councillor Fergus Wood Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497 Mobile 07824 496 019 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday 11.30am Minister: Vacancy Enquiries to Interim Moderator: Revd Terry Ann Taylor 01877 382391 Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sunday11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045
ROMAN CATHOLIC Callander, St Joseph the Worker Sunday 11.30am Saturday Vigil Mass 5.30pm from May through to September Killin, in the Episcopal Church Sunday 2.30pm Father Jim McCruden 2 Ancaster Square, Callander Tel: 01877 330 702
SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH St Angus’s Church, Lochearnhead 1st Sunday each month: 11.30am Communion 2nd Sunday 5.30pm Evensong 3rd Sunday 11.30am Communion 4th Sunday 5.30pm Evensong 5th Sunday (if applicable) 5.30pm FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A reflective time to discuss contemporary issues in a spiritual context
(Check with Rector for venue: 01764 655389)
Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453
Village news, whats on, business and community information for St Fillans, Strathyre, Balquhidder and Lochearnhead. Includes Stuc A Chroin h...
Published on Jun 1, 2016
Village news, whats on, business and community information for St Fillans, Strathyre, Balquhidder and Lochearnhead. Includes Stuc A Chroin h...